91People of Israel, stop celebrating your festivals like pagans. You have turned away from your God and have been unfaithful to him. All over the land you have sold yourselves like prostitutes to the god Baal and have loved the corn you thought he paid you with! 2But soon you will not have enough corn and olive oil, and there will be no wine. 3The people of Israel will not remain in the LORD's land, but will have to go back to Egypt and will have to eat forbidden food9.3 forbidden food: The Law of Moses prohibited the eating of certain foods as being ritually unclean (see Lev 11). in Assyria. 4In those foreign lands they will not be able to make offerings of wine to the LORD, or bring their sacrifices to him. Their food will defile everyone who eats it, like food eaten at funerals. It will be used only to satisfy their hunger; none of it will be taken as an offering to the LORD's Temple. 5And when the time comes for the appointed festivals in honour of the LORD, what will they do then? 6When the disaster comes and the people are scattered, the Egyptians will gather them up — gather them for burial there at Memphis! Their treasures of silver and the places where their homes once stood will be overgrown with weeds and thorn bushes.
The time for punishment has come, the time when people will get what they deserve. When that happens, Israel will know it! “This prophet,” you say, “is a fool. This inspired man is insane.” You people hate me so much because your sin is so great. 8God has sent me as a prophet to warn his people Israel. Yet wherever I go, you try to trap me like a bird. Even in God's Temple the people are the prophet's enemies. 9
They are hopelessly evil in what they do, just as they were at Gibeah.9.9 Gibeah: At this city some Israelites of the tribe of Benjamin raped a Levite's concubine; this caused a civil war that almost wiped out the Benjaminites (see Judg 19—21). God will remember their sin and punish them for it.
The LORD says, “When I first found Israel, it was like finding grapes growing in the desert. When I first saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the first ripe figs of the season. But when they came to Mount Peor, they began to worship Baal, and soon became as disgusting as the gods they loved. 11Israel's greatness will fly away like a bird, and there will be no more children born to them, no more women pregnant, no more children conceived. 12But even if they did bring up children, I would take them away and not leave one alive. When I abandon these people, terrible things will happen to them.”
13LORD, I can see their children being hunted down9.13 Probable text being hunted down; Hebrew unclear. and killed. 14What shall I ask you to do to these people? Make their women barren! Make them unable to nurse their babies!
15The LORD says, “All their evil-doing began in Gilgal. It was there that I began to hate them. And because of the evil they have done, I will drive them out of my land. I will not love them any more; all their leaders have rebelled against me. 16The people of Israel are like a plant whose roots have dried up and which bears no fruit. They will have no children, but even if they did, I would kill the children so dear to them.”
17The God I serve will reject his people, because they have not listened to him. They will become wanderers among the nations.
101The people of Israel were like a grapevine that was full of grapes. The more prosperous they were, the more altars they built. The more productive their land was, the more beautiful they made the sacred stone pillars they worship. 2The people whose hearts are deceitful must now suffer for their sins. God will break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.
3These people will soon be saying, “We have no king because we did not fear the LORD. But what could a king do for us anyway?” 4They utter empty words and make false promises and useless treaties. Justice has become injustice, growing like poisonous weeds in a ploughed field.
5The people who live in the city of Samaria will be afraid and will mourn the loss of the gold bull10.5 Some ancient translations bull; Hebrew cows. at Bethaven10.5 Bethaven: This name means “house of evil” or “house of idolatry” and in this passage refers to the city of Bethel, a name which means “house of God”. In verse 8, Bethaven is called Aven. See also 4.15 and 5.8.. They and the priests who serve the idol will weep over it. They will wail when it is stripped of its golden splendour. 6The idol will be carried off to Assyria as tribute to the great emperor. The people of Israel will be disgraced and put to shame because of the advice they followed. 7Their king will be carried off, like a chip of wood on water. 8
The hilltop shrines of Aven,10.8 Aven: See 10.5. where the people of Israel worship idols, will be destroyed. Thorns and weeds will grow up over their altars. The people will call out to the mountains, “Hide us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”
The LORD says, “The people of Israel have not stopped sinning against me since the time of their sin at Gibeah.10.9 Gibeah: See 9.9. So at Gibeah war will catch up with them. 10I will attack10.10 One ancient translation I will attack; Hebrew In my desire. this sinful people and punish them. Nations will join together against them, and they will be punished for their many sins.
11“Israel was once like a well-trained young cow, ready and willing to thresh grain. But I decided to put a yoke10.11 Probable text put a yoke; Hebrew spare. on her beautiful neck and to harness her for harder work. I made Judah pull the plough and Israel pull the harrow. 12
I said, ‘Plough new ground for yourselves, plant righteousness, and reap the blessings that your devotion to me will produce. It is time for you to turn to me, your LORD, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.’ 13But instead you planted evil and reaped its harvest. You have eaten the fruit produced by your lies.
“Because you trusted in your chariots10.13 One ancient translation chariots; Hebrew way. and in the large number of your soldiers, 14war will come to your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed. It will be like the day when King Shalman destroyed the city of Betharbel in battle, and mothers and their children were crushed to death. 15That is what will happen to you, people of Bethel, because of the terrible evil that you have done. As soon as the battle begins, the king of Israel will die.”
The LORD says,
“When Israel was a child, I loved him
and called him out of Egypt as my son.11.1 him and called him… son; or him; from the time he left Egypt I have called him my son.
2But the more I11.2 One ancient translation I; Hebrew they. called to him,
the more he turned away from me.11.2 One ancient translation me; Hebrew them.
My people sacrificed to Baal;
they burnt incense to idols.
3Yet I was the one who taught Israel to walk.
I took my people up in my arms,11.3 One ancient translation I… my arms; Hebrew He… his arms.
but they did not acknowledge that I took care of them.
4I drew them to me with affection and love.
I picked them up and held them to my cheek;
I bent down to them and fed them.11.4 Verse 4 in Hebrew is unclear.
5“They refuse to return to me, and so they must return to Egypt, and Assyria will rule them. 6War will sweep through their cities and break down the city gates. It will destroy my people because they do what they themselves think best. 7They insist on turning away from me. They will cry out because of the yoke that is on them, but no one will lift it from them.11.7 Verse 7 in Hebrew is unclear.
“How can I give you up, Israel?
How can I abandon you?
Could I ever destroy you as I did Admah,
or treat you as I did Zeboiim?
My heart will not let me do it!
My love for you is too strong.
9I will not punish you in my anger;
I will not destroy Israel again.
For I am God and not a human being.
I, the Holy One, am with you.
I will not come to you in anger.
10“My people will follow me when I roar like a lion at their enemies. They will hurry to me from the west. 11They will come from Egypt, as swiftly as birds, and from Assyria, like doves. I will bring them to their homes again. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
12The LORD says, “The people of Israel have surrounded me with lies and deceit, and the people of Judah are still rebelling against me, the faithful and holy God.